SECURITY CHECKS ARE A CROSS between the police and your mother, in that they’re just a tougher way of saying, “You’re not going through the door in THAT!”
Obviously sharp objects are no longer acceptable when travelling, and it’s now hard to see how the Swiss Army will ever fight abroad. If for some reason you forget that you’re carrying a sharp object, it will be confiscated. It’s like being back at school, except for the fact that the knives you carry are now a lot smaller.
People love having their bags searched. It’s a mini-equivalent of starring in Through the Keyhole, where you get to display your intimate personal things to complete strangers. Some people open their bags, and the contents look as if they’ve already been thoroughly ransacked. Other people pack so neatly that just lifting the corner of one pair of underpants makes it virtually impossible to repack. Many husbands have never seen the inside of their wife’s handbag, and it can be quite distressing seeing another man giving it a good once-over.
Metal detectors are technological confessionals. Experienced travellers know precisely, at any given moment, exactly what metal they have on their person. Theoretically this allows you to whistle through security checks. In practice the person in front of you has had a number of horrific car accidents and been rebuilt from the ground up with titanium spare parts. You then have to wait while he is deconstructed and various bits of him passed through in a plastic tray.
The one thing you’re not allowed to take through security is a sense of humour. Never make jokes during your frisking about having an anti-tank weapon concealed in a remote orifice. Security personnel are trained to find anti-tank weapons in remote orifices, and will welcome the opportunity to practice their search & rescue techniques.
Occasionally as part of the checking, you’ll be singled out for frisking. Remember, it is not necessary to undress for this procedure and put your clothing in the plastic tray. Simply stand as if you were about to do a star jump. You will then be very briefly skimmed lightly all over. (This whole procedure is based on the average male idea of foreplay.)
The metal detector is the closest most people get to a truth detector and it’s amazing what you can find out. For example, you can be going through with a friend when he suddenly remembers that he’s got a 10cm steel plate in his head. This finally explains why you can never get reception on your mobile when you’re standing next to him.
© GUY BROWNING IS AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.